Participants are sought for cancer study

Type of research ‘critical,’ doctor-victim says


Like millions of people, Dr. Blair Grubb was stunned by his cancer diagnosis.

He was then stricken again by another cancer diagnosis for his wife.

“I was stunned by it because of the fact that I thought I had lived a very healthy, rigorous lifestyle,” Dr. Grubb, a cardiologist and University of Toledo professor, said.

“I never smoked, rarely, if ever, drank, exercised on a regular basis, and followed a very prudent diet,” he said. “Five years ago my beloved wife was given the diagnosis of having a fatal brain tumor.”

His wife, Dr. Barbara Strauss, is still dealing with complications from her treatment.

Dr. Grubb's experience with cancer prompted him Wednesday to join the American Cancer Society in its call for volunteers from the Toledo area to participate in a national study aimed at finding the causes of cancer.

“These kind of studies are critical in our understanding of why people get these terrible malignancies that ruin lives and destroy careers, that strike down children,” Dr. Grugg said.

Toledo Mayor Mike Bell also joined the effort to attract volunteers for the groups's Cancer Prevention Study-3. “For me this is about quality of life,” Mr. Bell said in a news conference at UT's Savage Arena.“It was not hard for me to get on board with this Cancer Prevention Study-3 because I think it is extremely important.”

The Cancer Prevention Study-3 is the third phase of an ongoing effort to discover the causes of cancer. In phase one, the study officially linked cigarette smoking to lung cancer. In phase two, obesity and certain foods were identified as a cause, said Amy Boehm, health initiatives director at the American Cancer Society.

The study is open to people 30 to 65 who have never been diagnosed with cancer. UT's goal is to enroll 800 adults from various racial and ethnic backgrounds in northwest Ohio.

Enrollment sites are scheduled on UT's main and health science campuses from April 16 to April 20. Mr. Bell said April 16 would be proclaimed at Cancer Prevention Study-3 day in Toledo.

“Hopefully we will have so many people who register they will have to cut it off... but that has not typically been the case,” the mayor said. “If you through a study can help somebody else be healthy, why wouldn't you do it?”

Participants will be asked to read and sign a consent form, complete a small written survey, and provide a waist circumference and a small blood sample, Ms. Boehm said.

Particpants can register at:

Dr. Roland T. Skeel, professor, division of hematology and oncology at the University of Toledo Medical Center, the former Medical College of Ohio Hospital, also encouraged people to join the study.

“The past decade has seen an explosion of new knowledge about cancer that has shown great promise for our ability to control this often devastating health problem,” he said. “While new, more targeted and individualized treatments have improved our ability to fight against cancer, this study to improve our understanding of the causes of cancer can do even more to help reduce the number of lives impacted by this disease.”

The American Cancer Society says 13.7 million Americans with a history of cancer are alive and another 1.66 million will be diagnosed this year. Of those people, 2,200 will be in Lucas County, the group said.

Contact Ignazio Messina at:imessina@theblade.comor 419-724-6171.